This article was originally published on JustStarz
Meghan Markle was very much a celebrity before her relationship with Prince Harry, but it seems that since her rise and fall from royalty, people want to know more about her. What was her childhood like? Why is she estranged from most of her family? Did she and Prince Harry plan to leave the royal family even before the wedding? These are all questions people have been dying to know, and we want to provide answers. So buckle up as we shine some light on Meghan Markle's life.
Meghan Markle was born on August 4, 1981, in Los Angeles, California, to Thomas Markle and Doria Ragland. Since she was born, Meghan had always been close to her father.
Tom Markle worked in the entertainment industry as a lighting director and even won a few Emmy awards for his work. This would later help Meghan get her foot in the door in Hollywood.
Meghan's father, Tom, was married once before marrying Meghan's mom. He had two children from that marriage, including Samantha. She is 17-years-older than Meghan, and reports have said that they were never really close.
When Harry and Meghan announced their engagement, Samantha told the press that she and Meghan do not keep in touch, and she was planning to write a tell-all book titled, The Diary of Princess Pushy's Sister.
Meghan's mom, Doria Ragland, has always been a huge part of her life. Meghan is seen giggling with her mom as a baby, and we can see where she got her good looks from.
Before proposing, Harry asked Doria's permission, and of course, she said yes. This was a sweet gesture, and her mom appreciated being included in the process.
Growing up, Meghan was very close to her family. She had two brothers and two half-siblings from her father's previous marriage. Since her family has always been so close, they were wary of her marrying into the British Royal Family.
When she first went public with Prince Harry, her family and friends were concerned by the media storm she was being swept up into. They all had extreme opinions about her marriage.
Here Meghan is sitting with her Dad and baby brother. Before Meghan was born, her father Tom won $750,000 in the lottery, and that helped their family in many ways.
This money helped Meghan attend the best schools in LA and get the best training. She was always determined to pursue her dreams, and her parents wanted to help her reach those goals.
Little Meghan was always smiling. Here she is when she was six years old, and at this time, she was attending Hollywood Little Red Schoolhouse. Stars like Judy Garland and Elizabeth Taylor attended this school back in the day.
The school had a vegetable farm where students would help tend it, and they were used in school lunches. That seems like a boujee experience.
Since Meghan's half-siblings were so much older, they started having children while Meghan was still a young girl. Here she is pictured with her nephew. Despite being close to her half-brother, her half-sister, Samantha, had some choice words to describe Meghan.
Samantha called Meghan a "social climber who always had her sights set on becoming a princess." We don't know what happened between the two of them, but someone seems a bit jealous.
Since she was a small girl, Meghan has always had a love for the performing arts. She is seen on the far right dressed up with a music note on her shirt for a school show.
Most people who perform in their preschool plays do not go not to be international celebrities, but Markle is one of the exceptions.
Before Meghan had a huge platform, she was already fighting for equal rights. At 11-years-old, she saw a commercial for Ivory Soap that said, "women all over America are fighting against greasy pots and pans."
Meghan wrote a letter to Nick News and was featured on a segment because she led a campaign the change the phrasing of the Ivory Soap commercial.
As a child, and still, to this day, Meghan is adamant about giving back to her community. As a child, her parents would take her to visit hospice patients and deliver meals to them on Thanksgiving.
Meghan also traveled to Jamaica and remote parts of the world with her mom to see how other people lived. It helped her to understand the privilege that she had as a child and molded her into the compassionate person she is today.
Maybe she was preparing for all the future movie premieres where they give out free popcorn when she took this picture.
Markle looks like a cool '90s kid in this photo with her oversized Disney shirt, acid-wash jeans, and big hair. Since those trends are coming back into style, we wonder if she is recreating some of her childhood outfits today.
In high school, Meghan had many friends who loved her. Here she is with one of her childhood friends as they smile big for the picture.
Not only did she win homecoming queen, but Markle was also nominated for prom queen, but did not win. Her friends commented about how inspiring she was with her work for the UN and other philanthropic organizations.
Since her dad worked as a lighting director on Married with Children, Meghan and her friends were able to visit the set, and she snapped a photo with Ted McGinley, who played Jefferson D'Arcy.
Meghan loved to visit the sets her father was working on because she had always hoped to be the star of a TV show one day. It is a good thing she never gave up on those dreams.
Meghan must have been canvassing her future home when she and a friend took a trip to Europe when they were 15-years-old. Here they are posing outside of Buckingham Palace. Her future husband might have been hanging out inside.
Markle's friend, Ninaki Priddy, said she wasn't shocked by the engagement, and it was like Meghan had been planning this her whole life. Markle's first official trip to the palace was in December 2017.
While most people go through awkward phases in middle or high school, Meghan was the exception. She got her first crown as homecoming queen, and she is radiating beauty here.
Markle must have been preparing for the royal life when she ran for homecoming queen. We don't know her date's name, but he probably never imagined she would one day be actual royalty.
It is unclear when their relationship started to deteriorate, but Meghan and her father Tom were still very close into her teen years. Her father was always doing whatever he could to support her hopes and dreams.
When Harry and Meghan announced their engagement, Tom and Meghan's mother said, "We are incredibly happy for Meghan and Harry. Our daughter has always been a kind and loving person."
Meghan attended Northwestern University, where she studied theatre and international studies. In 2003, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Meghan had an exciting college experience as she studied abroad and worked on many charity projects.
During college, Markle had an internship at the American embassy in Buenos Aires, and she studied for a semester in Madrid. She made the most out of her four years at school.
We don't know who this lucky man is, but this photo was taken as she and her friends were celebrating their college graduation in 2003.
During her undergrad, Meghan started taking small acting roles, but she didn't get her big break till she was cast in Suits in 2011.
After graduated from Northwestern, Meghan wanted a little adventure before jumping into the working world. Her friend Ninaki Priddy and Meghan decided to plan a cross-country road trip.
The girls started in Chicago and headed towards California. They stopped for a few days in Las Vegas, where they took this picture on a night out.
While she was studying at Northwestern, Meghan was a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. She was well-liked by her sorority sisters because wherever she went she had a special charm that attracted people to her.
Like her husband, Meghan enjoyed a good party in college. Like most college students, Markle had a fake ID to get into various clubs in the area.
Although this was for a theatre production in college, Meghan looks like she was preparing for her future days as a princess. She tried to do many school productions so she could perfect her acting skills.
In her early days as a struggling actress, Meghan also used her calligraphy skills to make money doing freelance work. She even did the wedding invitations for Robin Thicke and Paula Patton's wedding.
If you were a fan of the game show Deal or No Deal, you might remember a younger Meghan as one of the briefcase girls. She was on 34 episodes of the show for several years.
Markle said she would do this show while she was auditioning to make ends meet. She went from working at the US embassy in Argentina to taking the part on Deal or No Deal. It was a learning experience for her to learn what she really wanted to do.
One of Markle's earliest acting gigs was the 2005 film A Lot Like Love with Ashton Kutcher and Amanda Peet. She shared the screen with Kutcher as they board a plane where the main characters meet.
Although the role was small, she made the most of it, and got to work with the handsome Ashton Kutcher in the process.
Meghan comes from a mixed-race family. Her mother is African-American and her father is of Irish descent. She has always been proud of her mixed-race ancestry and multicultural background, and it attributes to her uniquely beautiful appearance.
Markle said in an interview that she has come to embrace her heritage on both sides, and she is a confident mixed-race woman. She is not only comfortable in her own skin, but she wants others to feel the same as well.
Markle has been outspoken about the issue of retouching more ethnic-looking features to make them look less African-American. She is an advocate for racial equality, and this issue frustrates her often.
One thing Markle noticed is that people will photoshop her skin tone or remove her freckles. Her father once told her that a face without freckles is like a night without stars.
When Meghan was young, her mother set a strong example for her education because she finished college and earned a Master's degree in social work.
Markle's parents wanted her to follow in her mother's footsteps and earn a college degree, so they put her in the best private schools. Her mother, who is now a therapist and yoga instructor, was very pleased with everything Meghan accomplished in school.
Markle's degree in international relations prepared her for a future of traveling around the world doing philanthropy. Before she knew she would be marrying into the Royal family, Meghan was trying to work her way into the acting industry.
She didn't take the typical route of bartending or waitressing, but instead, she used her calligraphy skills to support herself in between acting jobs.
Besides acting and advocating for important organizations, Markle has also broken into the fashion world. She created her own fashion line that wouldn't break the bank because she knew how hard it was to find fashionable clothing at an affordable price.
Markle stated that she was the girl who would run out of gas on her way to auditions, and it was hard to find cute clothes in her budget. She wants anything with her name on it to be something she would also wear, so she is very involved in the process.
Meghan has always been a strong feminist. She has spoken many times since she was young about feminism and condemned those who criticize her for being an actress and model.
Markle advocates that you can look good and still stand up for the equality of women. Her beauty and brains have have helped her deal with the Royal family.
Not only is Meghan a feminist, but she also wants to see more women in politics. Markle said that women need a seat at the table because there can not be change without the inclusion of a woman's opinion.
Recently, she announced that she has her own political aspirations. Will we see Meghan running for President anytime soon?
While many assume Markle is the first American to marry into the Royal family, she is actually the second. The first American was Grace Kelly, who married Prince Rainer of Monaco.
Like Meghan, Grace Kelly retired from acting once she became a royal. However, now that Harry and Meghan have left the Royal family, she hopes to get new acting jobs.
Did you know that Prince Harry and Meghan met on a blind date set up by one of her friends? We need to find friends with connections like that!
The pair hit it off immediately because they share a love of philanthropy, traveling, and using their voices to benefit the world. Markle sees it as her responsibility to use her fame to do good in the world.
Most people do not know that Meghan Markle changed her name when she got into the acting business. Her original name was Rachel Meghan Markle, but she dropped her first name to make it sound better.
Rachel is a beautiful name, but we can't imagine Meghan being called Rachel Markle, now that we are so used to her current name.
While Meghan presents a perfect picture to the public of a woman who can speak her mind and gives back to the world, her family has some dark secrets.
Markle's older half-brother, Tom Jr., got into a drunken altercation, and he was arrested for pointing a firearm and unlawful use of a weapon.
There is more Markle family drama, especially with her half-sister Samantha. Her half-brother Tom has been extremely supportive of Meghan's relationship with Harry since the beginning, but not everyone is on board.
Samantha has multiple sclerosis, and she claims that since the diagnosis, Meghan has distanced herself even further from the family. Samantha's illness made her wheelchair-bound, and it has been difficult for her entire family.
Ever since Markle's half-sister said she was going to write a tell-all book, people have questioned if Meghan was this evil sister. Samantha tried to get in between Meghan and Harry, but their relationship is too strong for silly rumors to affect it.
Samantha has also accused her sister of pretending to care about women in poverty as a publicity stunt, but her actions say otherwise.
In the early stages of their relationship, Meghan was hiding a scandalous secret from the Royal family. Her niece is a satanist and Nazi sympathizer. Her niece went so far as to change her name to Hitler.
Markle's niece wrote a letter that declared her as the leader of the Nazi organization, and her soul belonged to the devil. This could have been a breaking point for Harry, but they grew stronger from this incident.
Meghan has called herself a "brash American" on many occasions, and she owns who she is. Back in her college years, she enjoyed going out and partying like any other university student.
Although Harry also went through his party phase, the royal family was not thrilled to find out about Markle's past when they were introduced to her.
On many occasions, Meghan and Harry's relationship has been compared to Kate and William. Kate is in the good graces of the queen, so it would only make sense for Meghan to copy her style in hopes that the queen would like her.
Besides style, Meghan also has a nude photo scandal in common with Kate Middleton. Both of them have had nude photos released, but it seems the queen has been harsher on Meghan than she was with Kate.
Besides her nude photo scandal, many of Meghan's skeletons have come out of the closet to haunt her. Prior to her marriage to Prince Harry, she was married to Trevor Engelson.
The royals were displeased that she had been married before, and they didn't like that she was an actress. Harry did not care about her past; he was only concerned with their future.
Throughout her career, Meghan has formed strong bonds with many big names in Hollywood including Serena Williams and Priyanka Chopra.
There have been rumors that the "mystery friend" who introduced Meghan and Harry was Priyanka Chopra. Does she have any special men for us?
On November 27, 2017, Harry and Meghan announced the incredible news that they were engaged. Less than a year later, the world watched as the couple tied the knot in front of England's most influential people.
They now have a son who recently turned one, named Archie. The couple made the difficult decision to give up their royal titles so they could be relieved of their duties. They now live in LA and are dealing with the fallout from leaving the royals.
The Queen's recent death was hard on the Royal Family, and Meghan and Harry were no exception. Here you can see Meghan mourning her Majesty at the funeral. With such a big change in the royal family, people are interested to know what's next for the Sussexes. Will they step back in and carry out royal duties? Or continue to live outside of the spotlight. With Harry not far down in the line of succession, decisions will have to be made.
We know that whatever's next for Meghan, she'll do what's right for her and her family. In the meantime, she's still working to change the world with or without a tiara.